Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Year: 2013
Sometimes choices—like change—can’t be avoided. A bittersweet story of love and family from National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti.Cricket has a very long week ahead of her. Her entire family has come together for her mom’s wedding, and it’s supposed to be a time for celebration. But for Cricket, the timing couldn’t be worse.For years Cricket’s been half of the perfect couple, destined to be together forever. Now, because of what she’s done—something she would give anything to take back—Janssen has walked away. Maybe for good.Cricket has always panicked in the face of change. Now she is forced to face her fears and decide once and for all what she wants, and how she’s going to get it. For over the course of the week, secrets will be revealed, bonds will be tested, and Cricket’s confusion—and her desires—may very well send her spiraling down a path she never thought she’d take...with no idea where it will lead her.
Cricket has been always afraid of changes. She’s been living with her mother and brother. It’s always the three of them against the world, especially after her mother decided to leave her father. She’s been dating the same boy for years, Janssen Tucker; but something happened between them and they’re taking a break. In the meantime, Cricket’s mother is getting married. So Cricket and her family are spending the week at Bluff House in Bishop Rock. Cricket uses this time away to think about her future with Janssen and try to rediscover herself.
To be honest, I underestimated this book. I thought The Story of Us is going to be one of those fluffy contemporary young adult summer read. For a contemporary young adult, this book is pretty dense. It took me a while to finish it. Reading the synopsis on the back cover, you’d think that The Story of Us is a romance novel. If you expect romance, you’ll be disappointed. This book is more about Cricket reflecting on her past experiences and trying to make sense changes that’s happening around her.
The book itself consists of two parts, the ones which follow Cricket’s mother’s wedding and the ones that basically are Cricket’s emails for Janssen. Cricket’s relationship with Janssen isn’t really explored except in Cricket’s emails. The emails serve as reminiscent of how they first met and grew closer to the point where Cricket did something bad to Janssen. Meanwhile, the wedding part focuses more on Cricket’s relationship with her family. Her family members are quirky and of course shenanigans ensue. There are many funny, sarcastic comments and jokes thrown here and there. I chuckled most of the time.
Dog plays an important part in this book. Cricket’s family’s beagle, Jupiter, is her best of friend. They adopted Jupiter as a mark for a new life without Cricket’s father. It also kind of marks the start of Janssen’s presence in Cricket’s life. Every Cricket’s email always starts with random fun facts about dogs. It’s almost like their thing. Then she will use it as a metaphor for their relationship. I love this part of the book. It makes the book different than other contemporary young adult books that I’ve read. Also, from the synopsis we already know that Cricket did something bad to Janssen but we don’t know what it is yet. We’ll learn this later where the book almost ends, which works well for me. The build up to the reveal of the mistake makes it matters. I’m pretty sure if Cricket told me what she did from the beginning, I would just dismiss it; like it’s not a big of a deal. Since I’ve learnt first how close they are and their connection, I can see how Cricket’s action could hurt Janssen so much.
The only thing that bothers me is the emails is one sided. The emails are written as if Cricket is talking to Janssen. The first few emails got me thinking that maybe they’re like those letters that you write for someone but never intended to send. But the later emails are written as if there are replies from Janssen. The problem is there’s no Janssen’s email anywhere in the chapters. It’s weird, like seeing Cricket talking to an imaginary boy.
All in all, I like The Story of Us. I recommend it for those who are looking for a young adult contemporary novel with more depth. I gave this book a four out of five.